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Homeless shelters in Longview work to fill a need

By JIMMY ISAAC jisaac@news-journal.com
April 18, 2011 at 10 p.m.


Leaders at two local shelters say they make sure every person seeking shelter - man, woman, child or families - find a place to stay.

Hiway 80 Rescue Mission is a nonprofit organization providing emergency shelter services for homeless men, women and children in need of help. According to its website, the mission receives no governmental or United Way assistance, but is a faith-based ministry funded through contributions from individuals, local churches, businesses, corporations and the community at large.

The rescue mission was established in 1955 to provide food, shelter and gospel services to men in the East Texas area. By the 1990s, the mission expanded to include homeless single women and women with children and noticing alarming upticks in local homeless numbers.

As a result, Hope Haven Home for Women and Children was established in 1998 to accommodate the increasing population of homeless women and single mothers with children, according to hiway80mission.org. Hope Haven offers food, clothing, shelter and gospel services. This home is under the auspices of Hiway 80 Rescue Mission.

In 2005, House of Hope, a homeless shelter for women and children, opened only a couple of blocks from Hiway 80 Rescue Mission, but is not affiliated with it or with Hope Haven.

Before there was Hiway 80, the Salvation Army served Longview homeless and hungry. Established in 1931 with the discovery of oil in East Texas, the Salvation Army's Longview Chapter has spent eight decades welcoming men, women and children.

Capt. Guy Watts said the Salvation Army shelter, at 519 E. Cotton Street, works with Hiway 80 Rescue Mission, House of Hope, Hope Haven and other shelters to make sure, even when a shelter is full, every person who seeks shelter can find it.

"Even in the cold weather we had these last few days, I want to say we were full one night, but we didn't have to turn anybody away," Watts said. "We work with Hiway 80 Rescue and House of Hope. We work really close with them, and we always see about placing someone somewhere instead of telling them "No," and giving them no hope. We try to place everyone in a shelter."

For donating to or volunteering at the Salvation Army, or for information, call (903) 753-4511; Hiway 80 Rescue Mission call (903) 759-9875; House of Hope, (903) 295-0904.

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